Outlining Taiwan’s future

Drawing up Goals for Taiwan in the 21st Century: publish “Taiwan Agenda in the 21ST CENTURY”

Since it was founded, Taiwan Advocates has worked under the guidance of former president Lee Teng-hui to draw up the Goals for Taiwan in the 21st Century. The organization has worked closely with top scholars and experts in a variety of fields to create a final draft of this document. The “Taiwan Agenda in the 21st Century” lists 10 major goals: establishing Taiwan’s national identity, facing up to China’s threats, upholding national security, developing omnidirectional foreign relations, establishing a comprehensive new economic paradigm, establishing an ecologically sound environment for sustainable development, developing technology attuned to Taiwan’s strengths, building Taiwan-centered education and culture, creating a quality mass-communication environment, and consolidating democracy to become a “normal country”.

These goals were lauded by all sectors of society, and 63 civic associations signed up to help promote this program. In order to allow members of the international community who are concerned about Taiwan’s future to understand our efforts and the direction in which Taiwan hopes to develop, Taiwan Advocates translated “Taiwan Agenda in the 21st Century” into English and Japanese.

Conducting opinion pollsAn opinion poll on legislative reform, revitalizing the economy and education reform – October 2002.

In coordination with Taiwan Advocates’ first international symposium governmental reform in 2002, we launched an opinion poll on three key issues: legislative reform,reviving the economy, and education reform. We sought through the polls to ascertain the feelings of the general public about these three issues, and believed that the results of the poll could be used to measure the degree of public support that might be given to proposals made at the symposium.

After 16 years of cross-strait exchanges, myriad social problems have arisenTaiwan Advocates appeals to the government to give public opinion proper consideration and give priority to national security – Nov. 2003.

In conjunction with Taiwan Advocates’ international symposium on “Cross-Strait Relations and National Security”, Taiwan Advocates conducted a poll on the public view of national security and economic development as they relate to cross-strait relations. The poll showed that 54.2 percent of respondents felt that increased economic ties with China were a direct cause of rising unemployment in Taiwan, and that 65 percent believed that China’s attitude toward Taiwan was one of enmity. Only 14.3 percent believed that China was friendly toward Taiwan. Over half of respondents (52.8 percent) believed that direct links with China would lead to an outflow of capital and talent. Faced with a choice between national security and economic development, over half of the respondents (50.2 percent) saw national security as more important. Based on these results, Taiwan Advocates called on the government to give priority to national security when it conflicted with economic development.

After the chaos that followed the 2004 presidential election, Taiwan Advocates found in two separate polls that the people of Taiwan did not approve of the pan-blue camp’s attempts to overturn the pan-greenelection victory – March and June of 2004.

Following the 2004 presidential election, the opposition organized numerous large demonstrations that were held even after the president had been inaugurated, the votes had been recounted and the election had been subjected to judicial review. The result of the opposition’s protest movement was a backlash. Although there were criticisms of the movement by political commentators, no opinion polls were conducted by media or other organizations to ldetermine what the people really felt about the opposition’s protests. Taiwan Advocates, however, conducted polls on March 22-23 and June 3-4. In the first poll, 80 percent of respondents said they believed that the demonstrations organized by the pan-blue camp were harmful to social stability and national security. Of blue-camp supporters, only 65 percent indicated that they supported the demonstrations. Three months later, in a second poll, the same questions were asked again. The results showed that blue camp supporters were deserting, with the original support level for President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu increasing from 55 percent to 64 percent, an indication that many blue-camp supporters now supported the green camp. Many respondents who had shifted their support from the blue to the green camp disapproved of the blue camp’s accusations of electoral fraud and foul-play in the attempted assassination on the president and vice president on the eve of the election. These polls suggest that the demonstrations were a major reason for people to abandon the pan-blue cause.